toxic behavior - man in a gas mask

How to Manage Toxic Behavior at Work

In our previous article we discussed some categories of toxic bosses that employees regularly deal with day in and day out. However, these behaviors aren’t limited to leadership. Employees can exhibit toxic behavior that can also lead to a defeated work environment that has you searching for a new role outside your current employer. Below, we’ve provided some ways to manage toxic behaviors in the work environment that can save your sanity.

Set Your Boundaries

Set your boundaries to deal with toxic behavior. Setting boundaries is one of the most effective means to manage toxic behavior in the workplace. To do this, first evaluate your values and how you want those values to be the guiding principles on how others to treat you at work. Then communicate such values clearly and demonstrate them in your behavior by setting up a structured environment that promotes your well-being in the office.

Yes, a boss or an employee can and will violate them from time to time, but if you are consistent, you can effectively mitigate the emotional impact it has on you when a violation occurs. Demonstrate professionalism and do not resort to the same toxic tactics that others exhibit.

Document Your Interactions

Document your interactions by taking notes in meetings, or communicating via email to enumerate and confirm expectations. Verbal communication is not always an effective means to manage toxic behavior – especially when it comes to bosses or employees who enjoy shifting blame to avoid responsibilities. Leave a paper trail that effectively establishes your interactions with others and provides evidence to support your work. By having everything in writing, you set the agenda to deal with facts and not subjective opinion masquerading as reality.

Deliver Results

Deliver results that matter. Toxic bosses don’t care about your feelings, and toxic employees will try to sabotage your work. However, if you stay results focused you can remove yourself from the cross-hairs of the toxic behavior of these individuals. For a toxic boss, focus on the results they want and deliver every time. Doing so helps you reduce their focus on you. For a toxic employee, delivering results will help you outshine their shadow of destructive behaviors.

Support Your Well-Being

Support your well-being outside the office. Working in a toxic environment can be a physical and mental drain that can leave you lagging and drive you into a depression. Take care of yourself by doing things outside of work that make you feel good about yourself. Maybe that’s exercise, maybe that’s losing yourself in a book or a good movie. Either way, it’s important that you take care of yourself outside of work so you can shoulder the storms of the office space.

Get Out

Get out of the toxic environment that you are in. Working in an environment where toxic behavior runs rampant is not a space anyone should be in for very long. Find a new job that supports your well-being and enhances your career. Don’t just jump ship. Bide your time until you find the right place for yourself.